At cross-purposes with minister 3

May 23, 2003

Almost all universities have the legal basis for their activities defined by their charters. The charter for the University of Wales, Bangor, states its objects as: "The advancement and dissemination of knowledge through teaching and research, and the provision for its students, through its corporate life as well as its academic work, of the benefits of a university education."

Note the emphasis on knowledge, and that teaching and research are seen as a means rather than an end. Thus the current funding difference between teaching and research cannot be seen as promoting the "advancement and dissemination of knowledge". If a university is required by its objects to engage in the advancement of knowledge, then it would seem necessary for finance to be applied to that end.

It is strange that universities have produced mission statements that, with the apparent encouragement of funding councils, generally make no mention of these objects. Is this forced by government as a way of changing the objects of universities without going through the procedure of changing the charters?

Ronald Brown
University of Wales, Bangor

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